Where have all the adverbs gone?


Sometimes, I think I’m the only one who uses adverbs anymore.  I mean, did I miss the memo that said “adjectives are the new adverbs”?  Am I just behind the times?  What am I missing?


Try these phrases on for size–


“… to help you shop smarter!”


“… important to eat healthier!”


“… shoes to make you run easier!”



I heard them all within the last 24 hours.  Do they sound right to you?  Maybe it’s just me, but I’m interpreting the words “shop”, “eat”, and “run” to be verbs in these sentences.  So, if we’re seeking to describe those words, wouldn’t using adverbs be more appropriate?  i.e.


“… to help you shop more smartly!”


“… important to eat more healthily!”


“… shoes to make you run more easily!”


Now, it’s true that those sentences might sound a tad awkward… but aren’t they correct?  Am I missing something?


If the adverbs are so bothersome, why not switch it up just a bit, e.g.


“… to help you be smarter as you shop!”


“… important to eat healthier foods!”


“… shoes to make running easier!”



I’m not actually trying to be the grammar police here.  I try to avoid that since I don’t want people combing all my posts for errors; trust me, I know they’re there. :)


But I’m truly just curious:


Am I the only one who hears phrases like that and they just SOUND wrong?  

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10 comments to Where have all the adverbs gone?

  • I think you are correct. “….shop smarter..” has sort of become a tagline adopted into popular vernacular I think. I would say “eat healthier food.” or “eat more healthfully.” healthily sounds weird to me. Run easier also sounds weird. I think “run more easily” sounds better.

    • You know… “healthfully” is all over blogs. I don’t know where it started. But (*ducks*), I don’t think it’s correct. You know, if you say/read anything enough times, it starts to seem normal, I think! :)

      • I read a good analogy of healthy vs. healthful recently. If I’m correct in my interpretation, healthy refers to the health of the actual item (ie. the squash was healthy – meaning, in good health) and healthful refers to the actual nutrient content (ie. we eat healthful foods). I’m not sure where I read it or the credibility of the source, but in those terms, it does seem to make sense.

  • We Americans just love a catchy slogan, correct grammar be damned! Blame it on Madison Ave.

  • Elizabeth

    The phrase “eat healthier” is everywhere I turn these days, and it does bug me. I know language morphs over time; maybe that is what’s happening here. And hey, it’s good for people to eat more healthily, because it will make them healthier…however they express themselves grammatically. ;)

  • If I had a dollar for ever time I said “eat healthier”….I would be a rich woman. Sorry!!! :-)

    • No need for apologies! Honestly, it doesn’t bother me all that much in colloquial speech… it just bugs the tar out of me when I hear/see it in ads that have, presumably, made it past copy editors. *raises eyebrow* ;)

  • My husband and I have a running inside-ish joke wherein we simply say /ly/ when the other inadvertently uses an adjective when there should have been an adverb used! It’s quite funny to simply hear /ly/ after you’ve said a word!

    I think, in a large part of our society, there simply isn’t enough emphasis placed on grammar in school, and truthfully, in many homes. I remember being taught basic grammar, but MUCH more emphasis, practice, etc. was placed on other areas of English/language arts, such as reading comprehension and composition.

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